A north-east Cub Scout has been honoured for his bravery and quick thinking after saving his family home from being destroyed in a fire.
Nine-year-old Cameron Barnes, who is a member of the 1st Insch Scout Group, received the Scout Gilt Cross for remaining calm and evacuating his family during the blaze.
Upon discovering his kitchen full of smoke after the boiler caught fire, he remembered his fire safety training from Cubs, raised the alarm and got his family to safety.
Cameron’s mum, Julie Barnes, said the Oyne Primary School pupil’s actions “saved the house”.
She said: “The kitchen was so full of smoke and the flames were 1.5ft high in the boiler cupboard.
9-year-old Cub Scout Cameron Barnes from Aberdeenshire is an inspiration to us all and is to receive a Chief Officer Commendation Certificate for his bravery after a fire broke out within his home in Insch. @FireScot_Chief @NEScouts
Read more here: https://t.co/sNyQ8bPOMm pic.twitter.com/o0YhvgHs2q
— Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (@fire_scot) December 18, 2020
“It was quite scary for Cameron, after we got out the house we just had to sit and watch the PVC window flames melt as all these explosions in the kitchen made so much noise.”
It was on Sunday, April 19, that Cameron was first up in his household and went through to the kitchen at 7.30am.
When he reached the glass panelled door, he saw that the room was full of smoke.
Wisely, instead of entering he woke the rest of the family.
The boiler had failed and caught fire, the cupboard door was burnt through, and flames were climbing up the wall of the Pitcaple property.
Thanks to the quick actions of the local fire brigade and Cameron’s calm demeanour, the damage was contained.
Explaining the events of that morning, Cameron said: “I woke up and went to get my breakfast.
“I could see smoke everywhere through the kitchen door.
“I didn’t want to go in so went to wake up Hannah, my sister, and mum and dad.
“The firemen saved our house and gave Hannah and me a teddy bear.
“I’d like to say thank you to everyone for being so kind.”
Mrs Barnes explained that Cameron had to face an agonising dilemma as he saw the family’s kittens struggling to breathe in the smoky kitchen – but knew that opening the door would fan the flames and cause the blaze to spread.
She said: “We are very thankful and very proud that Cameron made the right decision to come and get help rather than open the door. He had learned about that at cubs training.
“Our little kittens, who were four months old, were in the kitchen and suffering from smoke inhalation – though thankfully they both survived.
“Cameron is such a shy boy and he is amazed at the attention, but he really did ever so well.”
Cameron had already been awarded the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
The Gilt Cross, which he received this week, is awarded for “gallantry in circumstances of moderate risk”.
The awards are two of the highest accolades bestowed by the respective organisations.
Regional commissioner for North East Scotland Scouts, Dougie Simmers said: “This incident could easily have spiralled into a much greater issue if Cameron had not acted in the way he did, by raising the alarm allowing the family to escape the house safely.
“Through his ability to keep calm and remember his fire safety training from Scouts, Cameron saved his family and pets.
“He’s an exceptional young person and we are immensely proud of him for the way he handled this situation – Scouts really does give the skills for life.”
Local watch commander Stewart Murray, who attended the scene, said: “After the fire had been extinguished we realised that due to the internal door remaining closed this halted the fire progressing throughout the building. This kept the damage to other parts of the family home to smoke and water damage.
“Everyone at Insch Fire Station is so pleased that this smart young lad is to receive a commendation.”
In a letter to Cameron, SFRS chief officer Martin Blunden described the youngster as “an inspiration to us all”.
He also wrote that he would like to present the award to Cameron in person at a special event “once we are into some sort of normality again”.
The Barnes family had lived in their home for 16 years before the fire. They are now staying in temporary accommodation in Inverurie until the damage is repaired.